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As we enter the ‘New Normal’, after the Great Recession, many technology companies are fundamentally changing how they innovate. It’s not a new fad; continuous innovation has become a baseline core requirement to surviving the New Normal. Why? Market expectations of customer intimacy, shorter product lifecycles, accelerated economic volatility and new competitive threats are driving companies to be less tolerant of waste, mistakes and failures in the innovation process. Success, and revenue growth, means defining and taking the right products to the right markets at the right time while mitigating the risks of missing market and customer requirements.
In short, Innovation Management is once again emerging as the life blood of many companies to accelerate short-term profitability and drive long-term growth.
DMNews originally posted my commentary on the iPhone 4 issues in the July 26th issue. They were kind enough to let us repost our comments here to share with our readers.
Ever since the antenna problems in the iPhone 4 were first uncovered, there’s been a plethora of experts and consumers insisting Apple is making mistakes that will cause long-lasting damage to the brand.
One mistake they made was briefly mentioned by Steve Jobs at the company’s press conference: the break in the external antenna that forms the casing clearly indicates where to put your finger to drop a call. What could have been a product feature to help users from interrupting the signal strength was unexplained and misunderstood by the public.
Most product executives are constantly struggling to match their product investments to their companies’ innovation goals.
Join us on Wednesday for the fourth of our five-part webinar series on Transparency, and you can learn how you can maximize your return on product investments by developing the right products for the right markets at the right time, all the time. In this webinar, Roy Wildeman, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, Inc., will discuss Product Portfolio trends and highlight best practices for better, faster, more effective product development.
My previous post in this series described a method for making data-driven product decisions. But the planning process doesn't stop once those decisions are signed off. In fact, it may be just the beginning. There are a couple of reasons for this:
And so, the fifth and final ingredient in our recipe is: Make the innovation process iterative.
I’m especially pleased to see Forrester analyst Tom Grant applying Agile principles, visibility and collaboration into his own research. Tom is conducting research on thought leadership in which the entire process will be visible online and the online community can have input into the research methodology.
So far in this series of posts, I've described three ingredients for turning innovation into a core business process:
This trio lays the foundation: It defines the process ground rules. It ensures that there's transparency throughout the organization. And it opens the door to discovering what the market really needs.
The fourth ingredient ties it all together, and is simply this: Make objective decisions based on what is best for the company.
You can feel the energy in the room earlier this week as we huddled around a projector at a two-day company offsite. Our company is doubling in size every year, we're hiring new people all the time and growing interest in more globally competitive innovation and frugal innovation is feeding us an opportunity to become a very large company. The mood is naturally upbeat as we launch the offsite with a review of company performance.
Throughout those two days I must have heard a dozen stories about different customer prospects and what their pains were in the innovation cycle. Though different prospects were interested in specific features, there was a theme that strung across nearly every story.
No doubt you’ve been in meetings where a customer has said something like, “This would be an unbeatable product if only it _______.” I’ll let you fill in the blank.
Unless it’s a top-tier customer with lots of money at stake, the chance of one of these suggestions turning into a product feature is very, very small. Yet, companies receive ideas from customers all the time. And many of them are quite good.
Why? Because customers know what they need from the products they buy.
But even if individual ideas are not feature worthy, combining and analyzing them may reveal trends or needs you hadn’t considered before. And those revelations could lead to some competitive products and capabilities. Ingredient number 3 in this series on turning innovation into a core business process is simple: Embrace the voice of your customer.
This post was originally titled Finding a New Way with Your Product Roadmap, but that seemed a tad mundane when you're trying to imply that the importance of Innovation and Transparency goes beyond Requirements Management.
A talent for bluffing and obfuscation comes in handy when playing poker. If you're good at it, you can amass a hefty personal fortune.
Now imagine a poker table with marketing, engineering, finance and the Blue Sky team each sitting around trying to outwit one another.
Regrettably, too many companies behave this way when it comes to product innovation and development. Individuals and departments try to win executive favor, budget dollars and personal power at the expense of customer value and company success.
In that kind of environment, product team members will make unilateral decisions... ignore agreed-to decisions... compete against each other... and blame each other. They'll hold their cards close to the vest by maintaining program data in spreadsheets and static documents, declaring them unavailable to others on the product team. Innovation expert Paul Sloane has blogged that this kind of internal politics "can reach the ridiculous stage where the enemy is seen as another department inside rather than the competitors outside."
This situation leads us to the second ingredient in this series of posts on transforming the innovation process: Replace the many truths with a single, shared truth.